Using a DMX shield in Conjunction with Adafruit's NeoPixel Shield

Hello,

I'm very new to Arduino, I work for a light installation artist who primarily uses DMX to control his installations. He's set me to the task of finding a small matrix wherein each rgb led can be controlled individually with a dmx signal. Of course this has proven very difficult.

While researching this project I came across the NeoPixel Shield by Adafruit, which would work perfectly for my purposes except that I can't feed DMX directly into it. I'm wondering if I can use a DMX shield and the NeoPixel panel together to accomplish this.

He wants to use the matrix as a mini display to test a program that is being written in Mosaic. So the DMX shield would have to be able to read the DMX signal and control the pixel panel as it would any other light fixture. I know this atypical and not the way these pieces are generally used, I'm just wondering if what I want to do is even possible.

Thanks,

Catherine

How much time do you have?

While researching this project I came across the NeoPixel Shield by Adafruit, which would work perfectly for my purposes except that I can't feed DMX directly into it. I'm wondering if I can use a DMX shield and the NeoPixel panel together to accomplish this.

That seems feasible. The Arduino (with a DMX shield) can receive and decode DMX messages, and it can drive NeoPixels. So, it's just a matter of "connecting" the DMX input and NeoPixel output with software.

Of course, you need to make sure the DMX & NeoPixels use different pins.

I've never used DMX, but it seems like the amount of data you can send to a particular channel is limited. Can you send enough information to address all of the LEDs in the matrix?

You can send signals with a value range from 0 to 255 to up to 512 channels per universe, assuming you're working with an 8 bit protocol. I'm not exactly sure how this translates to individually addressed LEDs. If each LED has 3 channels and I were to link together 3 (5x8) pixel panels that would be a total of 480 channels. But if each individual LED only receives signal through 1 channel that may present a problem.

Time wise it should probably be simple enough that I can figure it out in 4-8 hrs. Since the NeoPixel shield only uses pin 6 there shouldn't be an issue there.

As far as "connecting" with software, does that entail translating the program written in Mosaic to something that works within the confines of the NeoPixel library?

i hate to say this considering its all about the Arduino here, but I just recently did a rig that consumed 550 neoPixels rings from adafruit. We had been experimenting with the Arduino and running with the DMX shield however due to the mass amount of rings and data required and the need for them to be DMX controlled we sourced out Enttec Pixie drivers, may require addition hardware as per your application.

here is the link for the Enttec drivers: